The radiated tortoise is a critically endangered species native to southern Madagascar. They spend most of their time in dryer areas of the island, particularly brushlands and woods. They can live for several decades, up to 50 years.
These tortoises get their name from their distinctive shell patterns, which feature a star-like cluster with stripes “radiating” out from the center. This pattern is most visible on juvenile tortoises and fades somewhat with age.
Radiated tortoises are herbivores, and wild tortoises get most of their nutrition from grasses and other plants. Our resident radiated tortoises are fed a variety of greens, such as lettuce and spinach. Special treats include fruits like pumpkin and banana.
Sadly, the radiated tortoise is critically endangered in its native range, having come under threat of a variety of human activities, including habitat loss, poaching for food, and sale for the pet trade. Captive breeding programs like ours at Ashton aim to preserve the genetic diversity of the species. This means that reintroduction may be possible if the species were to go extinct in the wild.